Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has launched the massive Amma Vodi scheme under which the below poverty line (BPL) women with school-going children will get direct financial assistance of Rs 15,000 annually. The money will be accrued to the bank accounts of beneficiaries every year in January, till their children pass out of school.
The state government had issued the order sanctioning financial assistance to about 43 lakh mothers or guardians last week. The scheme says that the mothers of minors, who are studying in school (Class 1-Class 12), whether in private, government, aided or unaided schools, are eligible for the scheme.
Children must have 75 per cent attendance in schools, and their families must be white ration card holder, to avail the scheme. Those who drop out of schools would stop being beneficiary. Also, government employees and income tax payers are also not eligible for the scheme.
The intention behind the scheme is to increase the number of school-going students in the state, and enhance the quality of education.
Orphans and children on the streets, who are studying in schools through voluntary organisations, have also been included in the scheme; financial assistance will be provided to these organizations.
The government has allocated Rs 6,455.80 crore for the scheme in fiscal year 2019-20. Critics are pointing out that the state government has asked other departments to set aside money from their budget for the scheme. Social welfare hostels, tribal welfare bodies, scheduled caste/scheduled tribe corporation, minority welfare are taking big cuts in order to finance this scheme.
According to the government orders issued last week, backward classes welfare department has been asked to release Rs 3,432 crore, Kapu Corporation Rs 568 crore, Social welfare department Rs 1271 crore, minority welfare department Rs 442 crore, and tribal welfare department has been asked to spare Rs 395 crore from their budgets.
To maintain transparency in the identification of beneficiaries, lists would be displayed in village secretariats. Regional joint directors of school education would be required to submit periodical reports for the monitoring of the scheme.